Monday, November 12, 2007

Cha Ca La Vong, Hanoi

This was my first dinner in Hanoi...
Jeffrey, our gracious host from Saigon was in Hanoi for work and he met us immediately after he heard from Dragon girl of our misfortune with the bad hotel. We had the first sampling of Vietnamese food and as we were intruding his dinner with his ex-colleagues ( all locals), I did not want to take any pictures at all.
We had the ubuquitous spring rolls (fried and non), warm beef salad and then..
I just could not resist..

The Cha Ca La Vong

Said to be a specialty dish, originated from Hanoi. What you get is grilled fish, cooked with herbs and lots of oil. As the restaurant was dimly lit, I did not notice that the pan was filled with oil (about 1 cm high). Until we started cooking. And the oil popped and sputtered now and then...We were given cubed fish (some local fish) that is already cook, spring onions and herbs. Dunk everything (in stages) into the oil filled pan and cook! Cook till the herbs and spring onions softens. Take a generous serving of rice noodles, mix the now greasy fish and herbs with it. For better flavour, add in the very stinky shrimp paste (the greyish thick paste, not too much though, it's salty!) which I love; or for a milder flavour, have it with fish sauce (clear yellowish one) instead. Throw in a sprinkling of peanuts, sliced chillies (if desired for a kick) and some fresh herbs and it's so good! Though a very delicious dish, you cant have too much of this as it does gets a bit greasy for the belly after a while.
I would not recommend you the restaurant I went to as Jeffrey said that it was just ok. There's another restuarant in Old Quarter that's much better. And if you are willing, I read that there's a street named Cha Ca in Hanoi. That is purportedly the origination of Cha Ca LaVong. Look for it? ;)

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7 Comments:

Blogger tut said...

yup, the better one is actually just across this restaurant. it's located upstairs .. very traditional (or torn?) looking. by the way, both restaurants are in Cha Ca street.

13 November, 2007  
Blogger sc said...

tut: hmmm, seems like u know where i ate? haha, yes was at cha ca, but we didnt go to the famous one. btw, how does my readers contact you? dont seem to have any email on your profile ;p

13 November, 2007  
Blogger tut said...

oh ... let's see if i can update my profile, if otherwise i can be contacted via cltimes@gmail.com

14 November, 2007  
Blogger Kelly Mahoney said...

What a beautiful dinner! The greens compliment the dish nicely (at least visually).

14 November, 2007  
Blogger sc said...

tut: now i know who u are..first i was thinking that this stranger is great man..knew where i ate although i didnt talk about it! haha

kelly: welcome! i guess it does look pretty..and the greens does taste good with the fish and noodles :)

15 November, 2007  
Anonymous jason said...

Interesting cooking method. Is it you're supposed to deep fry those veggies too?

20 November, 2007  
Blogger tut said...

it's more of individual preference. some like it fresh (raw), especially the herbs and spring onions. otherwise, throw everything in and fry.

21 November, 2007  

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